Wolf Hall (TV series)
|Based on||Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies|
by Hilary Mantel
|Written by||Peter Straughan|
|Directed by||Peter Kosminsky|
|Composers||Original music by|
Tudor music by
Claire van Kampen
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||6|
|Executive producer||Colin Callender|
|Running time||60–65 minutes|
|Production company||Company Pictures|
|Original release||21 January –|
25 February 2015
Wolf Hall is a British television serial first broadcast on BBC Two in January 2015. The six-part series is an adaptation of two of Hilary Mantel's novels, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, a fictionalised biography documenting the rapid rise to power of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII through to the death of Sir Thomas More, followed by Cromwell's success in freeing the king of his marriage to Anne Boleyn. Wolf Hall was first broadcast in April 2015 in the United States on PBS and in Australia on BBC First.
The series was a critical success and received eight nominations at the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards and three nominations at the 73rd Golden Globe Awards, winning for Best Miniseries or Television Film.
England in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the King dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years and marry Anne Boleyn. The Pope and most of Europe oppose him. Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell: a wholly original man, a charmer, and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people, and implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?
- Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell
- Damian Lewis as Henry VIII
- Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn
- Bernard Hill as Duke of Norfolk
- Anton Lesser as Thomas More
- Mark Gatiss as Stephen Gardiner
- Mathieu Amalric as Eustache Chapuys
- Joanne Whalley as Katherine of Aragon
- Jonathan Pryce as Cardinal Wolsey
- Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Rafe Sadler
- Tom Holland as Gregory Cromwell
- Harry Lloyd as Harry Percy
- Jessica Raine as Jane Rochford
- Saskia Reeves as Johane Williamson
- Charity Wakefield as Mary Boleyn
- Richard Dillane as Duke of Suffolk
- David Robb as Sir Thomas Boleyn
- Edward Holcroft as George Rochford
- Joss Porter as Richard Cromwell
- Jonathan Aris as James Bainham
- Natasha Little as Liz Cromwell
- Will Keen as Thomas Cranmer
- Tim Steed as Lord Chancellor Audley
- Ed Speleers as Edward Seymour
- Kate Phillips as Jane Seymour
- Paul Ritter as Sir John Seymour
- Enzo Cilenti as Antonio Bonvisi
- Luke Roberts as Harry Norris
- Alastair Mackenzie as William Brereton
- Max Fowler as Mark Smeaton
- Robert Wilfort as George Cavendish
- Aimee-Ffion Edwards as Elizabeth Barton
- Felix Scott as Francis Bryan
- Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as Francis Weston
- Bryan Dick as Richard Rich
- Lucy Russell as Lady Shelton
- James Larkin as Master Treasurer FitzWilliam
- Joel MacCormack as Thomas Wriothesley
- Thomas Arnold as Hans Holbein the Younger
- Richard Durden as Bishop Fisher
- Sarah Crowden as Lady Exeter
- Janet Henfrey as Lady Margaret Pole
- Nigel Cooke as Sir Nicholas Carew
- Benjamin Whitrow as Archbishop Warham
- Hannah Steele as Mary Shelton
- Paul Clayton as William Kingston
- Kerry Ingram as Alice Williamson
- Emma Hiddleston as Meg More
- Florence Bell as Helen Barre
- Iain Batchelor as Thomas Seymour
On 23 August 2012, BBC Two announced several new commissions, one of which was Wolf Hall. According to The Guardian £7 million was to be spent on the adaptation. BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow said it was "very fortunate to have the rights" to the two novels and called Wolf Hall "a great contemporary novel".
Peter Kosminsky, the director of the series, said: This is a first for me. But it is an intensely political piece. It is about the politics of despotism, and how you function around an absolute ruler. I have a sense that Hilary Mantel wanted that immediacy. ... When I saw Peter Straughan's script, only a first draft, I couldn't believe what I was reading. It was the best draft I had ever seen. He had managed to distil 1,000 pages of the novels into six hours, using prose so sensitively. He's a theatre writer by trade."
The drama series features 102 characters and Kosminsky began casting the other parts in October 2013. Although originally set to film in Belgium, most of the filming took place on location at some of the finest British medieval and Tudor houses and buildings: Berkeley Castle, Gloucester Cathedral and Horton Court in Gloucestershire, Penshurst Place in Kent, Broughton Castle and Chastleton House in Oxfordshire, Barrington Court, Cothay Manor and Montacute House in Somerset, St Donat's Castle in the Vale of Glamorgan, and Great Chalfield Manor and Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. The series was filmed from May to July 2014. The series, which was made in association with Masterpiece Entertainment and Playground Entertainment, consists of six episodes and was broadcast on BBC Two in the UK from 21 January 2015.
The Guardian speculated that the BBC's hiring of Kosminsky with Straughan showed they wanted "a darker and grittier take on British history" than more fanciful programmes such as The Tudors or The White Queen. Mantel called Straughan's scripts a "miracle of elegant compression and I believe with such a strong team the original material can only be enhanced".
Kosminsky's decision to film many of the interior scenes by candlelight led to the actors bumping into things, and fearing they might catch fire.
Wolf Hall was filmed in two locations in Kent: Dover Castle doubled for the Tower of London, and the Long Gallery, Tapestry Room, and Queen Elizabeth Room at Penshurst Place were used as specific rooms in Whitehall (York Place), which was Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII's residence. The Long Gallery doubled as Anne Boleyn's chamber. Some scenes were filmed at Stanway House in Gloucestershire.
The series' executive producer, Colin Callender, stated in February 2015 that he hoped that the BBC would commission an extension of the series based on the final novel in Mantel's trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, which was published in 2020. Callender said that lead performers Mark Rylance and Damian Lewis were "eager" to return.
A second series of Wolf Hall was confirmed on 27 May 2019.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|U.S. air date||UK viewers|
|1||"Three Card Trick"||Peter Kosminsky||Peter Straughan||21 January 2015||5 April 2015||5.99|
|In 1529, as Cardinal Wolsey receives news of his dismissal as Lord Chancellor, his lawyer Thomas Cromwell reminisces about how he and Wolsey met and the events leading up to the Cardinal's downfall.|
|2||"Entirely Beloved"||Peter Kosminsky||Peter Straughan||28 January 2015||12 April 2015||4.46|
|As 1529 draws to a close, Cardinal Wolsey moves to York while Thomas Cromwell attempts to gain support for him from King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and, in the process, gradually wins favour for himself.|
|3||"Anna Regina"||Peter Kosminsky||Peter Straughan||4 February 2015||19 April 2015||4.13|
|In 1531, King Henry VIII has proposed a bill which will make him the head of the Church in England and allow him to marry Anne Boleyn. However, his plans are met with a series of complications.|
|4||"The Devil's Spit"||Peter Kosminsky||Peter Straughan||11 February 2015||26 April 2015||4.29|
|In 1533, Anne Boleyn has given birth to a daughter, much to King Henry VIII's disdain. As Anne's paranoia over her inability to produce a son grows, Thomas Cromwell tries to convince Sir Thomas More to show approval for the royal marriage.|
|5||"Crows"||Peter Kosminsky||Peter Straughan||18 February 2015||3 May 2015||3.72|
|In 1535, King Henry VIII's becoming head of the Church in England has antagonised the Holy Roman Emperor. Meanwhile, Anne Boleyn's failure to produce a male heir leads Henry toward Jane Seymour.|
|6||"Master of Phantoms"||Peter Kosminsky||Peter Straughan||25 February 2015||10 May 2015||3.74|
|The Exeter Conspiracy is in the works. In 1536, King Henry VIII's request that Thomas Cromwell find a way to rid him of Anne Boleyn—a sentiment supported by others who wish for Jane Seymour to take her place—leads to a series of allegations and revelations.|
Critics have been "almost unanimous" in their praise of the series, with particular reference to the attention to period detail, the faithful adaptation of the source novels, Kosminsky's direction, and the performances of the leading cast members, particularly Rylance as Cromwell and Foy as Boleyn. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the show a 98% rating based on 41 reviews with an average rating of 8.45/10. The website's critical consensus states, "Beautifully filmed and brilliantly acted, Wolf Hall masterfully brings Hilary Mantel's award-winning novels to life." Sam Wollaston in The Guardian called it "sumptuous, intelligent, event television." Will Dean in The Independent felt that it did not compare favourably with the stage adaptation of the book, yet he predicted that it would "secure a devoted following." James Walton in The Daily Telegraph gave the first episode five stars out of five, commenting: "it’s hard to see how this one could have been done much better." Mick Adam Noya from the television review show Channel Crossing called Wolf Hall "the best show of 2015".
A few dissenting voices found some flaws. The Daily Telegraph alleged that there was a substantial drop in ratings between the first and second episodes, despite all the following episodes holding high and consistent ratings. Simon Schama stated concerns about how the series depicted historical figures. Emily Nussbaum of The New Yorker cited "small weaknesses", but wrote "the show’s deliberately paced six hours turn out to be riveting, precisely because they are committed, without apology or, often, much explanation, to the esotericism of their subject matter."
The lighting design, which used historically accurate natural light sources (such as candlelight for evening scenes) prompted criticism from viewers who felt parts of the series appeared too dark.
- Australia: BBC First premiered the series on 11 April 2015 and it was watched by 46,000 viewers.
- United States: PBS broadcast the series on Masterpiece from 5 April 2015 to 10 May 2015. The series was subsequently licensed to Amazon Prime.
- Germany / France: Arte broadcast the series on 21 and 28 January 2016.
For the 5th Critics' Choice Television Awards, the series received four nominations: Best Limited Series, Mark Rylance for Best Actor, Jonathan Pryce for Best Supporting Actor, and Claire Foy for Best Supporting Actress.
- Mantel, Hilary (2009). Wolf Hall (1st ed.). New York City: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 978-0805080681.
- Mantel, Hilary (2012). Bring Up the Bodies (1st ed.). New York City: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 978-0805090031.
- "Mark Rylance set for Hilary Mantel TV drama". BBC News. 8 March 2013. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Cast & Credits, Wolf Hall, PBS.
- Barraclough, Leo (31 January 2014). "Damian Lewis Set to Star as Henry VIII in 'Wolf Hall'". Variety. Retrieved 23 February 2014.
- Vincent, Alice (2 May 2014). "Wolf Hall TV cast to include Damian Lewis and Mark Rylance". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- "Wolf Hall Series 1 Episode 2 Cast & Credits". PBS. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Emma Hiddleston Resume". Hamilton Hodell. Retrieved 15 July 2014.
- "BBC Two announces raft of new commissions". BBC. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Brown, Maggie (11 October 2013). "Peter Kosminsky and Mark Rylance team up for BBC's Wolf Hall adaptation". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Wolf Hall adaptation planned for BBC Two". BBC News. 24 August 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- "Wolf Hall is to be a BBC drama". The Daily Telegraph. 23 August 2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 13 October 2013.
- Conlan, Tara (18 January 2015). "Wolf Hall sticks to England after director rejects plan to film in Belgium". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
- Frith-Salem, Benjamin (20 January 2015). "Wolf Halls: take a look inside the properties where the new BBC series is filmed". BBC History Magazine. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
- "The stately homes of Wolf Hall". BBC News.
- Daniels, Nia (10 January 2014). "Wolf Hall now to film in the UK". The Knowledge Online. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
- Furness, Hannah (21 January 2015). "Wolf Hall: the perils of filming by candlelight". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
- Kent Film Office (9 January 2015). "Kent Film Office Wolf Hall Article". Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- "Stanway House – At home with Lord Wemyss". Cotswold Homes. 27 January 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2019.
- Ben Dowell, BBC poised to commission Wolf Hall series two, Radio Times, (9 February 2015). Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- Bley Griffiths, Eleanor (27 May 2019). "BBC officially confirms Wolf Hall series 2 as Hilary Mantel announces final book in trilogy". Radio Times. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
- Lisa de Moraes, 'Wolf Hall' Premiere Crowd Hits 4.4 Million, Deadline Hollywood (30 April 2015).
- Weekly Top 10 Programmes – Broadcasters' Audience Research Board
- "Wolf Hall: Critics hail TV debut". BBC News. 22 January 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- "Wolf Hall: Series 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 September 2018.
- Wollaston, Sam (22 January 2015). "Wolf Hall review – 'event television: sumptuous, intelligent and serious'". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Dean, Will (21 January 2015). "Wolf Hall review: An imperious Mark Rylance revels in darkness in Hilary Mantel adaptation". The Independent. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Walton, James (22 January 2015). "Wolf Hall: episode one, review: 'subtle & surprising' – Telegraph". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Channel Crossing: Wolf Hall Review (Best TV of 2015)
- Anita Singh,Wolf Hall a turn-off as a million viewers switch over, The Daily Telegraph, 29 January 2015
- Schama, Simon (13 February 2015). "What historians think of historical novels". Financial Times. Retrieved 20 August 2015. (subscription required)
- Nussbaum, Emily (27 April 2017). "Queens Boulevard". The New Yorker. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
- Furness, Hannah (22 January 2015). "Wolf Hall viewers complain candlelit scenes left them in the dark". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 12 January 2022. Retrieved 30 April 2019.
- "APRIL on FOXTEL: Game Of Thrones, Mad Men, Wentworth, Deadline Gallipoli and 200+ other new shows". The Green Room. Foxtel. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Ratings: Saturday 11th April 2015". Mediaspy. Archived from the original on 25 July 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
- "Wolf Hall". Masterpiece. PBS. Retrieved 24 January 2015.
- Petski, Denise (30 June 2015). "Amazon Nabs Exclusive Licensing Rights To 'Wolf Hall', 'Grantchester' & More". Deadline. Retrieved 24 June 2021.
- "Wölfe (1/6)". ARTE Programm. 21 January 2016.
- "Wolf Hall (1/6)". Programmes ARTE. 21 January 2016.
- "Justified, Broad City, Empire, Mom, 24, Jane The Virgin, Transparent Lead the 2015 Critics Choice Nominations". Team TVLine. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- "The Peabody 30 – Complete Winner's List". Retrieved 28 February 2020.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to Wolf Hall (TV series).|